Like most everything in the world, there is both truth and fiction in all beliefs/topics. Some believe that cats should only eat raw food and they will support their position with as much data as they can find, picking and choosing only a portion of the data that supports their position and omitting anything that does not. Below are the basics when it comes to the topic of cooking any food and the resulting nutrient retention.
Most of the discussion around whether it is better to consume raw food vs. cooked food is centered on plant based nutrition. Since we do not believe that our carnivore cats should be fed vegetarian ingredients we can ignore this whole section of the controversy.
There is no doubt within the scientific community, that the proper cooking of meat makes the meat more digestible or bioavailable to any animal including cats. Cooking also kills harmful bacteria and parasites that could potentially hurt you or your cat. It is true that if any food is over cooked, particularly in the presence of oxygen that over cooking can destroy some vitamins or form compounds that are harmful. This is why charring your bacon is never a healthy choice.
When we extrude our cat food we maintain a cooking temperature of 220 Degrees Fahrenheit, for 60 seconds, at high pressure, within a closed chamber and with limited oxygen. Under these conditions there are no harmful compounds formed and few vitamins are lost. For any heat sensitive vitamins we either use heat stabilized vitamins or we supplement additional vitamins to make up for any losses. Generally the vitamin content of our food is better than most natural raw diets. The cooking conditions of our cat food is far gentler than what people subject their roasts or turkeys to when they cook them at home.
In defending the feeding of raw meat, people usually state that the cooking of meat will destroy the natural enzymes found in meat. This is true. It is also true that those same enzymes do not survive the acids found in your cat’s stomach; your cat, therefore, derives no benefit from them in either scenario. In reality, you cat produces all the enzymes she needs to properly digest her food.
The statement "cooking alters vital nutrients" is often used, but never detailed enough to have any scientific meaning. Sometimes cooking alters a nutrient in a negative way, but cooking is up to 12 times more beneficial from a digestibility and nutrient adsorption point of view vs. raw.
Although we do not object to feeding cats raw food and even sell raw supplements, we have seen no benefits in feeding raw over feeding Young Again kibble. Further, there is no scientific evidence that states that supplemented raw meat is better for your cat vs. a properly supplemented and cooked animal protein based kibble.